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Taormina Fest Offers Tao Classes

Attendees will get up close and personal with visiting stars

Not everybody is a cinephile, but everybody has their favorite actor.

That’s the basic populist tenet of the so-called Tao Classes at Taormina: plentiful and informal onstage talks by thesps, helmers, producers and scribes in an effort to make the fest an educational experience. The events are “not gossip, but not academia either,” says artistic director Mario Sesti.

The Tao talks are a defining aspect of Taormina — a counterbalance to its primal pure entertainment element.

The events allow the fest to provide “that direct eye contact, that apparent intimacy, the fact that you are in the same space with a real live movie person,” notes Sesti.

This year’s Tao talkers will include Meg Ryan (pictured right), Russian icon Yelena Romanova, and a slew of Italians spearheaded by local box office sensation Checco Zalone (pictured left), a comic whose Islamic fundamentalism-themed comedy Che bella giornata (What a Beautiful Day) is Italy’s top-grossing pic ever, at $42 million. Zalone will riff on the Greek Theater stage with his producer Pietro Valsecchi.

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